Mission: Modesty (Part 3)

I think the reason I had the most problem with the whole “skirts vs. pants” issue was because it was my mom and dad’s standard… but not mine. The whole “because I said so,” the “because it’s the right thing to do,” and the “because it’s a good testimony” reasons weren’t good enough for me. It wasn’t personal to me. It wasn’t MY standard or something the Lord had convicted me about personally.

I believe this is the problem with a lot of Christian girls today who were raised with the “skirt only” standard. Once the Lord began dealing with me about this area of my life (and many other areas) it became my personal standard. I couldn’t fight it anymore. I could no longer argue with the One who spoke the worlds into existence and hung on a cross for my sin. He told me He wanted better for my life; it became common sense for me once He convicted me about the way I was dressing.

Let’s go back to the three girls I mentioned in part 1 of this series: Kristina, Kirstyn, and Jessica. Remember I said that we all began to have a discussion about this topic at the church one Tuesday afternoon? It was interesting to me that the Lord was working in all of our hearts regarding this issue at the same time. I believe the Lord worked it that way so we could all be an encouragement and share our different thoughts about the matter with each other.

As we talked we shared our struggles, our reasons, our hopes, our fears, and the lessons the Lord was teaching us. For a few of us, we had been raised in skirts our whole lives. Skirts were all we had ever known until the past couple of years. They were the old way for us – it had been a long, enduring process of applying the “children, obey your parents” law set forth by God in His Word. However, now that us four girls are older and now that the Lord has dealt with each of us personally, we can look back and see the reasons why. We can see the bigger picture. It’s not a “clothes” issue; it’s a testimony issue - it’s a heart issue.

Kirstyn shared what the clincher was for her about this matter. She had read the following verses during her devotions:

Jeremiah 6:
Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.

Jeremiah 7:
(24) But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in the counsels and in the imagination of their evil heart, and went backward, and not forward. (25) Since the day that your fathers came forth out of the land of Egypt unto this day I have even sent unto you all my servants the prophets, daily rising up early and sending them: (26) Yet they hearkened not unto me, nor inclined their ear, but hardened their neck: they did worse than their fathers.

She was so excited, yet so convicted she didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry. So she cried. We all cried.

I can’t tell you how many times my mother has used the old “give an inch, take a mile” analogy when trying to discuss the issue of dress with me. “Heather, if we slip in one area, how long will it be until we say that halter tops and mini skirts are okay? How long before we allow shorts and low-cut shirts? If you want to raise your kids in pants, fine – that’s your decision. But right now you’re under my authority - you’re the child and I’m the parent, so for now what I say goes.” She tried so many times to explain to me that the best way to avoid the fall is to stay clear of the cliff’s edge. Ugh. I just didn’t get it. Mom would explain the downward spiral affect dressing like the world would have not only on me, but on the future generations that may follow behind. If she gave me an inch (pants), and I raised my children wearing pants, then what would the “inch” be that I would allow my children? Something else would be compromised. And compromise always leads to more compromise. In the end, the generations to follow will be dressing completely opposite of what a Christian should dress like – all because it started with that one “inch.”

Read those verses again. Isn’t that exactly what they’re saying? Indeed, it is. In tears, Kirstyn said: “I don’t want to raise my daughter wearing pants… I’m scared to death to allow her to wear pants!” Kirstyn wants a higher standard for her family; she wants to raise the bar a little higher and err on the side of caution. She proceeded to say that she didn’t want her child to be raised with a double-standard. Telling her daughter that it’s okay to wear pants around the house, at work, or out-and-about, but telling her she has to wear skirts whenever church rolls around or some other church-affiliated activity comes up. If you wouldn’t wear it to church, why would you wear it at all?

Jessica spoke next and said something along the lines of this: “I want the black and white areas to be distinct. I want there to be no question. I don’t want the colors to run and create fuzzy gray areas.”

Now… let me just clarify: I do not believe it’s a sin to wear pants. *GASP! oh no she didn’t…* Just wait. Keep reading, I’m not done yet.

Nowhere in the Bible does it pointblank say, “Pants are a wicked sin… avoid them like the bubonic plague!” However, the Bible does tell us to “come out from among them” and be separate from the world (II Cor. 6:17). The Bible does say that we are IN the world, but not OF it. The point is this, just because something isn’t necessarily “wrong” doesn’t mean it’s necessarily “good.” There is a higher standard that you could set; there is a more holy conviction that you could have for your life. Why would you choose to be anything less than the holiest, most separated (unto God) individual you could possibly be?

I want to be the best Christian that I can be. I want to be as separated from the world as I can be; but I don’t want to just be separated "from" something, I want to be separated "unto" Someone. That Someone is God. There’s a better way. There’s a higher stand. I choose to take the high road. I want to raise my daughters on a more narrow path than the world lets their daughters run on. I want to please the Lord with my life; and I believe that this is just one more issue that He is calling me to separate myself unto Him in.

If you’re a girl, consider what you’ve just read. Please don’t send me hate mail. If you disagree, fine; that’s your prerogative. If you’re a guy and you’re actually still reading this, maybe you could leave a comment with thoughts from your perspective. After all, you are the ones who have to look at us. It would be interesting to get your point of view on this matter of modesty. Please, feel free to either leave a comment under this post, visit me at Grow Up!, or e-mail me at heather.vires@gmail.com.

If you haven’t yet read Part 1 and Part 2, I encourage you to do so!

~ Heather Joy


Anonymous said...

Oh Sis Heather........AMEN, AMEN AND AMEN!

JTR said...

I have enjoyed reading all three parts of this series. Like Lay's potato chips - sometimes ya "Gotta Get Your Own (Bag)". Pants used to pertain to men more, true...but I think culturally they still do enough for me to avoid them - and even more than that, skirts DEFINATELY pertain to women (only).

So what is bad about being MORE feminine? The Proverbs 31 woman was certainly feminine. Rosie the Riviter and WW2 may have changed the status of pants in US culture, but I don't think many can argue with the fact that skirts are just more feminine. Now, I would rather see a woman in tight pants tho than a short miniskirt (if I had to choose between two evils), so modesty has to play it's part as well.

I would rather look like June Cleaver than Roseanne Barr! Thanks for tackling this hot button issue.

Sally said...

Though I was not brought up wearing skirts, the Lord dealt with me personally about this issue many years ago. Like you, I am thankful that I have my own conviction as a result. I am with you, but why don't you believe it is a sin for a woman to wear pants? You quoted Deut. 22:5, which says that the woman who wears that which appertains to a man is an abomination to God. How can that not be sin, if it makes me an abomination to Him? I would love for pants on women not to be a sin, but I don't see that. The thought that I could be abominable to God because of what I wear is what keeps me in modest skirts. Please don't take this as an argument. I would really like to know your take on this.

You are so right about it being a heart matter. We have four girls who are being raised to wear feminine clothes, but I am going to keep track of this post for future reference. :) Thank you!

Grammy Blick said...

I, too, believe Deut. 22:5 continues to be a valid instruction though we are not under the Law. However, I do not believe slacks designed for women pertain to a man. There is nothing in the slacks I wear that would appeal to any man, any more than a blouse buttoned down the front with a pocket pertains to a man's shirt or could replace it. They are anatomically designed for different body types.

Yet, when I'm going to church, I will be in a dress or skirt and blouse to show that I know the time there is special and set apart.

I know a missionary wife who firmly believes 1 Cor. 11:5 applies to her and is not seen without a head covering since she prays without ceasing. It certainly is not for me to tell her otherwise, nor is it for me to urge Sally to change her view. These decisions come from conversations with God.

JTR said...

I agree. If we would submit to the Lord and ask His will, we can't go wrong. It's like those who believed eating meat offered to idols was wrong. Paul said he didn't agree - but for them, it WAS wrong because they could not eat it in faith so to them it was sin. (I think I'm mixing two passages, but you get the point). He said while the world stood he would eat NO meat - just not to offend his brother.

Now those who believe it is wrong also have a responsibility not to judge their brethern (sistern :) ) who wear slacks. We just each must be convinced in our own minds, and if there is doubt - then err on the side of caution, and do not let an issue you have doubts on become a sin for you. I hope this post makes sense.

It's important to remember in Duet. they were wearing ROBES! Although I think a good point can be made re: the priests clothing listed "breeches" to be worn under the robes. We can't let culture dictate what is right and wrong, and something that used to be thought of as scandelous (ie: showing one's ankels in the 1800s!!). It is not culturally the norm - there is no shame in baring your ankels, elbows, forearms - whatever is in vogue at the moment.

How many women who wear skirts then cut their hair as short as any mans? There comes a point where you could spend all day nitpicking and judgeing every inch of every person you met. All we can do is judge ourselves and pray and ask God to show us what sins we need to cleanse in our own lives.

Anonymous said...

Grammy Blick, the only Laws we are not under any longer is the Food Laws and the Ceremonial Laws.

JTR said...

We are free to do anything (liberty), however, God is working in us to perfect us, and He changes our want to. I think I must be misunderstanding your point. We should keep God's law (as in the nine of the ten commandments He reiterated in the NT), but we do not have to keep them to be saved, nor will we find any acceptability to God through them. Only in Christ are we made acceptable to Him.

We can please Him tho, by obeying the Word. In this way we are not "under" any part of the law. Romans 6:14 "For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace."

Grammy Blick said...

@ a County Helpmeet: Would you be kind enough to give me chapter and verse for your comment? I would appreciate it.